DeSean Jackson‘s arrival with the Buccaneers will make Mike Evans even more explosive than he already is.
Aren’t the Buccaneers lucky to have a guy like Mike Evans on their side? After three straight 1,000 yard seasons, Evans is already one of the top receivers in the league. The best part about it is that he is only getting better. In a very quiet and unassuming manner, Evans has put himself into near “elite” status. He is one of the best, and one of Jameis Winston‘s most trusted weapons.
One of Evans’ best attributes is his ability to diagnose his own problems. Each season, he picks out an element of his game that he needs to improve, and it invariably does. The most recent example was last year, when Evans went to improve his hands. He lowered his dropped passes from 11 in 2015 to 7 in 2016 (per Sporting Charts). He also was better at handling his emotions this past year, providing that consistent leadership that his quarterback needed.
More from The Pewter Plank
- Devin White posts cryptic message to Lavonte David on Twitter
- ESPN predicts surprising outcome to Devin White trade saga
- Updated Buccaneers depth chart after signing two players from rookie minicamp
- Todd Bowles sends clear message about Baker Mayfield’s role with Bucs
- The Athletic is wrong about Bucs one ‘must-watch’ game in 2023
This year, Evans once again knows that step that his game has to take. He knows where he has to get better (per Team Website):
"“My explosiveness and yards after the catch,” he said."
Believe it or not, with a 1.8 yards after the catch average, Evans was ranked 23rd among 1,000 yard receivers in 2016. That has to change.
The article mentions reasons that are valid, such as the Bucs scheme and the fact that Evans is good around the red zone. These are both true, and play part of the equation. Evans is great around the goal line, meaning that he is past it so his catches often go for touchdowns. He is not making catches outside the end zone and taking it to the house very often.
But there is another reason. Look at all the attention he has gotten over the last couple of years. Without a legitimate number two, all eyes of the defense are on Evans.
For example, remember this one?
That one won catch of the year. This is an extreme example of what I am talking about. Evans could have turned this up field after the spectacular grab, if it weren’t for the defenders around him, one slamming him into next week. This was just a microcosm of how it went for Evans all year. He was by far the most legitimate weapon on the outside, so he was the one who saw the most attention. It’s difficult to put up yards after the catch when you are getting hit immediately.
That’s why DeSean Jackson was such a huge pickup, not only for Jameis Winston but also for Evans. Nobody is expecting Jackson to take over as the number one guy. But, he does get the attention of the defense. His ability to break a play off for a big gain cannot be ignored. Whenever Jackson is on the field, he will receive attention and that means less attention on Evans.
Imagine once in a while, Evans having only one guy on him when he makes the catch, or being wide open. Those yards after the catch numbers could go through the roof. A move like this is big for the offense as a whole and for a player like Evans, who no longer has to hold the spotlight all by himself.
The potential of the Bucs offense is, frankly, scary. They really are on the road to being something special. At least on paper, they still have to get it done on the field. I can’t wait to watch.